A manicure salon in China has come under fire for employing well-built young men to serve its – almost exclusively female – clientele with their tops off.
The shop, in Kunming in the country’s southwestern Yunnan province, has attracted online criticism after a video emerged showing muscular male employees, either topless or wearing an apron only, as they provided salon services.
The clip went viral last month, a report by Jimu News said.
According to the video, one woman was so hot and bothered by the sight of the muscled manicurists, she suffered a nosebleed.
As controversy grew, the owner of the salon explained that the beefcake move was, in fact, a marketing ploy.
“We are a legally-run manicure shop. We made the video to attract more customers, therefore it is a bit exaggerated,” he was quoted as saying.
The staff in the video usually wore regular clothes like those at any other nail salon, the owner said.
“When we made the video, they took off their clothes to show off their physique,” adding that the female “customers” in the video were also employees of the shop.
However, a local market supervision official said they had launched an investigation following public complaints.
A male member of staff at the salon who has been a manicurist for three years said more and more men were choosing to enter the profession.
Marketing gimmicks might work for a while but ultimately it is the skills that matter, he added.
“Many people came to our shop after our video was released. But we will only retain customers if we provide good manicures.”
However, opinion on mainland social media was less favourable.
“I’m disgusted with this marketing campaign. Is it just me? ” asked one person.
“I can say for sure that most girls will think they are vulgar and will feel nauseated by these men. Girls like men who are clean, handsome and look positive,” said another.
“This shop has swapped morals for profits. What is its address? I will go there to denounce it,” said a third.
Stores that use sexy men to sell services are not uncommon in China.
A restaurant, also in Yunnan province, was closed by the authorities in July after videos trended online of sexily-clad male waiters performing provocative dances to entertain female diners, even feeding them mouth-to-mouth.
In 2021, a hotpot restaurant in northwestern Shaanxi province caused controversy after employing topless male models as waiters.